This is a relatively new term. Coming up through the ranks of corporate training during the 80s and 90s, we just called it new employee training. Back then, software as a service (SaaS) wasn’t a thing, so we called new user training, um, new user training. Like I said, onboarding wasn’t invented back then. After all of these years of doing this kind of work, I can tell you it is exactly the same thing.
My role at work started off as new user onboarding specialist. My role at my last job was new user onboarding specialist. My role for dang near every job that I have had since 1986 has included onboarding, training or documentation. Turns out, it’s what I do.
I’ve since changed roles at work, focusing on eLearning creation, to help round out my skill set. Lot of content creation and helping others get the content the way it needs to be for effective training. Plus, a little bit of course creation thrown in on areas where I am the subject matter expert, or can play the subject matter expert on TV.
One of those, as it turns out, is new employee onboarding. I’m writing this a few days before the newly created onboarding program is rolled out, globally, to our entire company. At some point in history, someone came up with a self-directed learning plan that contained links to over 200 different training. The idea being that you find what you need and consume from this doc. Great, until this doc gets turned into New Employee Onboarding. Let me tell you, over 200 training materials that take about 25 hours to consume is not how you create a good onboarding program. To add to that, there was an instructor led course built into that learning plan, which was a live meeting with our VP of HR. Happens quarterly at about 1000. In France. That’s very early in the morning for anyone in NA, so they were unable to complete the learning plan.
So I put my research hat on and dug in. Over the course of 7 months I was able to develop a new onboarding system, following best practices. There was a lot of writing, testing and meetings, along with a whole bunch of production time developing the content required. I was able to develop a program that provides a sense of completion to the learner, give them some great knowledge about the company and what it does and a good idea about the culture. All in the span of 13 videos that take less than 30 minutes to consume.
I also said system. This new employee onboarding course is just step 1. Moving forward, I will be implementing a course for management about onboarding best practices and how to take advantage of the learning team at the company to help them realize their goals of better team onboarding, if required. I also have planned to work with HR staff on developing procedures for the in-person part of onboarding (getting equipment, setting up payroll, etc.) to make sure all new employees are having a consistent experience. I don’t think this will be 100% the same across countries, but we will do our best to get there.
It will be nice once this rolls out. I’m very excited about it and super happy with with the work that myself, along with many of my co-workers, have been able to accomplish!